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Exercise and Brain Health

Updated: Jun 14

Did you know that exercise can lead to the production and release of various neurotransmitters?

Neurotransmitters are chemical messengers that transmit signals between neurons in the brain and nervous system. Some of the key neurotransmitters that are produced or affected by exercise include:

1. Endorphins: Exercise stimulates the release of endorphins, which are neurotransmitters that act as natural painkillers and mood elevators. Endorphins are responsible for the "feel-good" sensation or "runner's high" that many people experience during or after exercise.

2. Serotonin: Exercise can increase levels of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that regulates mood, appetite, and sleep. Higher levels of serotonin are associated with improved mood, reduced anxiety, and enhanced feelings of happiness and relaxation.

3. Dopamine: Physical activity stimulates the release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter involved in reward, motivation, and pleasure. Dopamine is often referred to as the "feel-good" neurotransmitter and is associated with feelings of enjoyment and satisfaction.

4. Norepinephrine: Exercise increases levels of norepinephrine, a neurotransmitter that plays a role in the body's stress response and alertness. Norepinephrine helps improve focus, attention, and energy levels during physical activity.

5. Brain-derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF): Exercise promotes the production of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a protein that supports the growth and survival of neurons in the brain. BDNF is involved in learning, memory, and mood regulation, and higher levels of BDNF are associated with improved cognitive function and mental health.

6. Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid (GABA): Exercise can increase levels of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), a neurotransmitter that has calming and relaxing effects on the brain. Higher levels of GABA are associated with reduced anxiety and improved mood stability.

These neurotransmitters play crucial roles in regulating mood, cognition, stress response, and overall mental health. The production and release of these neurotransmitters during exercise contribute to the mood-enhancing and stress-reducing effects of physical activity, promoting feelings of well-being and improving overall mental health.

Now you know!

Dr Purity Carr

GP & Menopause Doctor

Harvey WA 6220

0471 224 333

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